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Miami Cruise Crime Victim Attorney Notes Sexual Assault Committed by Cruise Employee against a Minor in Light of Crime Reporting Problems Involving Cruise Industry

When parents decide to take their family on a cruise, they do not anticipate their children will be exposed to sexual abuse.  Despite these expectations, you might not learn about such incidents from the cruise company when they occur.  In late January, a cruise employee allegedly enticed a teenage girl into performing a sex act.  According to a report by Local 10 News, a waiter aboard the Holland America cruise ship, MS Veendam, was arrested after he had a 15-year-old girl perform a sex act. The employee was charged with a lewd and lascivious act involving a minor.  The news source learned of the incident and reported it to the public.  The tactics used by the cruise line to avoid disclosing the incident focus attention on the difficult task of determining the risk of being the victim of a crime when deciding to take a cruise.

Our Miami cruise accident lawyers at Greenberg, Stone & Urbano know that most people that schedule a vacation on a cruise anticipate that the cruise company will implement adequate security measures.  Passengers also might be inclined to assume that the cruise line will elect to work with tour and recreation providers that screen their employees and adopt appropriate security practices.  Although these beliefs might seem reasonable, people are victims of crimes like rape, sexual assault, sexual molestation and other offenses on cruises each year.  Because certain cruise lines might be lax regarding security measures and protocols, travelers should investigate the security record of a cruise line before making a choice.  This task is not as easy as it might seem because of crime reporting practices in the cruise industry.

The Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act (CVSSA) of 2010 was originally enacted to furnish transparency to the public regarding criminal offenses like sexual assault, rape, homicide, missing persons, and thefts.  However, lobbying efforts from the cruise industry resulted in modifications to the language of the statute so that only crimes that are “no longer under investigation by the FBI” are reported.

An article on the issue of reporting of criminal offenses on cruise ships published in the Arizona Republic observed that this language leads to significant underreporting.  Many times the FBI does not open a formal investigation of crimes reported on cruise ships or keeps the file open indefinitely.  This reporting practice leads to substantial underreporting of crimes on cruise ships.  The cruise industry also skews crime reporting statistics by classifying offenses as non-reportable crimes.  Professor Dr. Ross Klein, a cruise expert, points out on his website that cruise lines report crimes as “molestation,” “sexual conduct,” “lewd and lascivious,” “inappropriate touching,” and “groping” because these offenses are non-reportable under the CVSSA.  This process of misclassifying crimes allows the cruise industry to underreport criminal offenses and creates a false sense of security for passengers.

Because of these strategies, which are designed to mislead prospective passengers regarding the safety of a cruise line, passengers need to exercise caution.  However, the most cautious passenger can be the victim of a crime while on a cruise ship or a shore excursion.  While the cruise line can be liable for providing inadequate security, lawsuits against cruise ships for criminal attacks committed by third parties present complex issues.  Prompt legal advice from our attorneys who handle many cruise ship injury lawsuits can prevent missteps that might derail your claim.

Greenberg, Stone, & Urbano:  Seeking Maximum Recovery for Damages Sustained Due to Negligence 

If your cruise vacation is interrupted by a criminal attack, our Miami cruise crime victim lawyers at Greenberg, Stone & Urbano will tenaciously pursue the fullest financial compensation.  For over 130 collective years, our firm has assisted accident victims in personal injury and wrongful death actions across South Florida.  We seek to obtain compensation for your tangible and intangible damages, including medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.  Our skill and dedication have earned us an AV rating from Martindale-Hubbell and recognition as one of South Florida’s top firms by the Miami Herald.   Call us at (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400 or visit our website to schedule your initial consultation.



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